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Mediation: Disrespectful Language and Behavior

The complaint was filed against a police detective for disrespectful language and behavior.  The complainant was angry about the manner in which the detective responded to his report that a thief had assaulted and stolen an expensive wristwatch from him.  He alleged that, when the detective arrived at his house to investigate, the detective told him that he should have done a better job defending himself from the attacker.  Also, the complainant stated that he did not appreciate being told by the detective that he was intoxicated, when in fact this was not the case.  The complainant further alleged that he was in close proximity to the detective when he overheard the detective telling another officer that he did not believe that the complainant was telling the truth about the alleged crime.

At the mediation session, the complainant first stated that two police officers did a good job responding in an appropriate amount of time to take a report about the crime.  However, he expected more respectful behavior from the detective when he arrived later in the evening.   The detective responded that he did not believe that his behavior was rude or inappropriate, as he operates under the same procedure in all of his investigations.  He stated that it was not his intention to offend the complainant, and explained that a large percentage of thefts in the District of Columbia turn out to be false reports, which he tries to expose through his questioning.  The detective further stated that his investigation had revealed that the complainant is subject to several outstanding debts.  The complainant stated his intention to request that his complaint be forwarded to a complaint examiner for a decision on the merits.  The detective responded that he intended to file a lawsuit against the complainant for harassment.  After private meetings with the complainant and the detective, the mediators and the parties jointly decided that it was time to end the mediation.

After the mediation, the mediators decided that some progress had been made during their conversation with the parties.  Specifically, the mediators thought that the detective had made a significant step by acknowledging that his behavior might have been interpreted to be offensive; the mediators also determined that the complainant had paid meaningful attention to the detective’s description of his protocol in investigating cases.  As a result, the mediators requested that OPC's mediation service, the Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC), make attempts to obtain the parties’ consent to return to OPC for a subsequent mediation session.  CDRC was successful in bringing the parties back together.  At the mediation, the mediators highlighted the successes that the parties had made in the first mediation session.  The detective apologized if the complainant had found his behavior to be offensive.  The complainant responded that he had decided that he would rather not pursue his complaint any further.   The mediators also reminded the parties that a signed agreement entailed that the parties would not pursue any actions arising out of the events that were the subject of the complaint and mediation.  As a result, the parties shook hands and signed an agreement not to further pursue any matters relating to the complaint.